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© Copyright 2012– The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Project All rights reserved. This book is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. This book may not be copied or reprinted for commercial gain or profit. The use of short quotations or occasional page copying for personal or group study is permitted and encouraged. Permission will be granted upon request. Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are taken from The Tree of Life Version, copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, PA 17257. All rights reserved. DESTINY IMAGE® PUBLISHERS, INC.

P.O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310 “Promoting Inspired Lives.”

This book and all other Destiny Image, Revival Press, MercyPlace, Fresh Bread, Destiny Image Fiction, and Treasure House books are available at Christian bookstores and distributors worldwide. For a U.S. bookstore nearest you, call 1-800-722-6774.

For more information on foreign distributors, call 717-532-3040. Reach us on the Internet: www.destinyimage.com. ISBN 13 TP: 978-0-7684-0318-3

ISBN 13 Ebook: 978-0-7684-8762-6 For Worldwide Distribution, Printed in the U.S.A. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 / 16 15 14 13 12

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The Vision and How it Came Together The book you have in hand is part of a larger, joint-venture translation project, a collaborative effort of a number of Messianic Jewish scholars, rabbis, and friends.

Messianic rabbi Mark Greenberg and his wife Daniah Greenberg conceived the visionary idea of gathering Messianic scholars from across the broad spectrum of Messianic experience, and seeing if they could work together on a translation. Mark and Daniah wanted it to be Jewish friendly, punctuated with Messianic Jewish nuances, accentuated with Messianic artwork, accurate, readable, and accessible to children—in short, a Messianic Family Bible. This is no small vision!

The image of a shepherd leading sheep is the task and challenge of pastoral leadership. When it comes to getting scholars together—and Messianic Jewish scholars at that—it might have been more like a shepherd chasing a herd of cats! As they say, two Jews, three opinions! Could we really do it—assemble a vetted translation representative of the whole Messianic Jewish movement? Yes, because everyone on this project loves the Bible and loves Yeshua.

Guided principally, though not exclusively, by the able hands of Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Feinberg, the New Covenant Scriptures came to life under the title of The Tree of Life Bible—The New Covenant. That attended to, and with the first run nearly exhausted not long after it went off the press, we began working on the Older Covenant (Tanakh), at which time I was brought on by Rabbi Mark and Daniah Greenberg to serve as the project manager and vice president. A team of text managers came together (Rabbi Jeffrey Adler, Rabbi Barney Kasdan, and rabbi’s wife Dr. Patrice Fischer), and together with several new translators with expertise in ancient Semitic languages, we have begun work on renderings of the Hebrew Bible.

The Psalms edition you have in hand was built atop the Jewish Publication Society’s 1917 version of the Hebrew Bible, now in the public domain. It had been guided by the able hands of our literary editor, Rabbi Dr. Glenn D. Blank, developed by a principal translator, Dr. Ihab Griess, double-checked by Dr. Patrice Fischer, tweaked and approved by our theology committee (Dr. Ray Gannon, Dr. Rich Robinson and Rabbi Jeffrey Adler, and chaired by Rabbi Eric Tokajer), sent to another language expert (in Israel), Dr. Mordecai Cohen, sent back to Dr. Blank and then to Fred Edelstein, for a final readability review—all with a mind to leave as good an impression on your mind’s eye as possible. Meanwhile, we also started a Messianic Jewish commentary on the psalms. This project was inspired by a conversation with our supportive publisher’s

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Tree of Life: The Psalms representative, Dean Drawbaugh. Destiny Image has a tradition of getting behind Messianic Jewish vision and scholarship. Working with them seemed both a natural extension of their vision and ours. In conjunction with the translation, Dean was more than happy to develop works built on it—thus the book you have in hand.

I had just recently finished shooting a television series in Israel on the “Psalms of Ascent,” with Zola Levitt Presents, and was geared up for psalms as a result. Given the popularity the psalms enjoy in the broader culture, on the basis of their being turned to often by folk looking for biblical medicine for life’s assorted hurts, developing a book to go hand-and-hand with the new rendering of the Psalms seemed a natural. But just as the translation itself represents the breadth of the Messianic Jewish movement, I didn’t want to do the commentary alone. But who would help me?

What’s the good of having friends if you can’t use them?

Spirited along by the vision of this project, I asked a good and long-time friend Paul Wilbur if he’d be game to come alongside me and assist with commentary on the Psalms. He’s a well-known artist—surely everyone in the Messianic movement and much of the Christian world knows and loves his music and gift for worship. I figured some might want to know more of his mind on the psalms, too. In this volume you will hear Paul the scholar as well as the worshiper.

Messianic Rabbi Dr. Glenn D. Blank is less known to the broader world, yet he faithfully serves the Lord behind the scenes. With the overall translation project, he is one of the longest-running translation team members, and arguably the hardest working. He brings to the project valuable expertise in linguistics and literary theory. Given all the hard work he has done to make us all look good, I wanted readers to experience Glenn speaking in his own voice, as well as cleaning up all of ours.

In sum, though I conceived the idea of running with a Psalms devotional commentary, the book you have in hand is a team effort of talented people who give it all back to the Lord. It is my hope that what has come from our heart and minds will go to your minds and hearts—that you will find it useful for study and even more so for prayer. Above all, I hope that you’ll hear God’s heart for you, as you not only open up God’s Word but as you open yourself to it. It is my prayer that you will hear Him speak to you in ways that make a difference for you. Thank you for trusting us with the task of translating and commenting on God’s Word for you. Blessings. Jeffrey Seif, D.Min.

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A Literary Editor’s Introduction to the Psalms The word psalm comes from a Greek word meaning a song to the accompaniment of a string instrument. Many of the psalms do refer to harp and lyre. It came to mean a song of praise, from which comes the Hebrew name of the Book, Tehillim. Praise is indeed a major theme, though many Psalms sing other notes, such as intercessory cries, laments, complaints, vows, sacrifices, and repentance. Yet even the songs of anguish or sorrow or questioning almost always return to God’s praise. The collection of Psalms developed over hundreds of years. In the 10th century B.C.E., David and his court composed a core collection, likely including Psalms 3-16, 51-72 and 130-145. Levitical musicians who led Temple worship added more, notably Asaph contributing 73-83, the sons of Korah providing 42-49 and 84-88. Royal psalms celebrated important public events during the reigns of David’s descendants, such as a coronation (2), wedding (45), and Temple petitions on his behalf (20, 72, 89, 132, 144), etc. Also scattered through the collection are hymns exalting the wisdom of Torah (1, 15, 19, 34, 37, 53, 73, 78, 94, 111, 112, 119, 139), possibly first inspired by the discovery of the scroll of Deuteronomy during the reign of Josiah. Other Psalms (74, 79, 126, 137) mourn the destruction of the first Temple in 586 B.C.E. Sometime after the exile and the building of the Second Temple, the Book of Psalms took its present form, in five divisions or books (1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106 and 107-150), each ending with a brief doxology or exaltation of God. One possible explanation for the five books is to parallel the five books of the Torah. Psalms are poems, sung or chanted in the Temple. We encourage you to read them aloud or make up new melodies to chant them, as the Ruach HaKodesh leads. Enjoy the vivid imagery, the emotional pathos, and the building up of ideas and the ebb and flow of feelings. Rather than rhymes, Hebrew poetry uses parallelism, where two lines of a verse build on the same meaning, for example 27:1: Adonai is my light and my salvation: whom should I fear? Adonai is the stronghold of my life: whom should I dread?

Or two lines of a verse may contrast in meaning, for example 27:10: Though my father and my mother forsake me, Adonai will take care of me.

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The poets are not rigid about it, however: the second line may develop the idea in the first, or the first line may illustrate an idea in the second, for example 42:2: As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.

The Psalms teach us many different ways to pray. Many prayers are deeply personal, reflecting circumstances in the lives of David and other ancient kedoshim, to which we can still relate today. Others are corporate, calling us to honor our God as a community. The Levites sang Psalms designated for services in the morning, evening or the watches of night, as well as for festivals and appointed times. Thanksgiving ushers us through the gates of His sanctuary. Praise affirms our trust in His promises and His power to protect us. Worship urges all people and all creation to exalt Him with all our being. Petitions raise our voice in times of trouble or trial, sickness or slander, persecution or poverty. Wisdom urges us to trust in God’s ways, confess sin and do good, seek answers to difficult questions such as why evil people seem to prosper while good people suffer in this life, and reaffirm God’s faithfulness to those who wait patiently on Him. There are a few technical terms in the psalms which are difficult to translate. Some appear in the introductory verses, such as miktam, shiggaion, etc. These terms may indicate musical instruments or poetic genres. In some cases, we provide translations that we believe are plausible though not definitive. The word Selah, which appears in the body of many psalms, is untranslatable; it may indicate a musical interlude or a poetic break in a song. The Psalms are a tremendous source of hope and consolation. Again and again they assure us that the God of Israel prizes His people, forgives the sinful, and will ultimately deliver the faithful, culminating in a confidence that God will give eternal joy to His kedoshim. The ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah were but a foretaste of the glorious kingdom of God. Most wonderfully, the Psalms contain many prophetic hints about the coming Messiah, the promised seed of David, the priest according to the order of Melchizedek, the suffering servant, and the triumphant savior and Lord. Glenn David Blank, Ph.D.

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A Worship Leader’s Introduction to the Psalms The book of Psalms has long been a source of encouragement and comfort for all who journey into its pages. The songs of the psalmists (not all are written by David) reveal so many aspects not only of the writers, but of the Author of all Scripture as well. As a teacher/song writer/worship leader, I often refer to these verses for much more than just writing material—they are words of life to all who find them. There are psalms of healing and deliverance, prophetic songs which found their ultimate fulfillment in Israel’s Messiah, songs of His presence and protection, and so much more. Psalm 22:3 declares that Adonai inhabits and is enthroned upon the praises of His people; Psalm16:11 tells us that in His presence there is fullness of joy with pleasure at His right hand; and Nehemiah adds that the joy of the Lord is our strength. So I would like to encourage you with this spiritual truth—those who begin in praise will continue in joy, and most certainly will finish strong. This book of meditations on the Psalms has been compiled not only for your edification, but with the sincere desire for you to receive revelation that will inspire and provoke you to love and good deeds. So I pray that the Holy One of Israel who breathed these words into the psalmists so many years ago will revive them in your heart with insight and revelation so that you may finish strong! Blessings and shalom. Paul Wilbur, M.M.

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Psalm 1 Torah Is a Tree of Wisdom 1

Happy is the one who has not walked in the advice of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scoffers.

2

But his delight is in the Torah of Adonai,

3

He will be like a planted tree over streams of water,

and on His Torah he meditates day and night. producing its fruit during its season. Its leaf never droopsa — but in all he does, he succeeds. 4

The wicked are not so. For they are like chaff that the wind blows away.

5

Therefore the wicked will not stand during the judgment,b nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6

For Adonai knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will lead to ruin.

( Psalm 1 (Jeffrey Seif and Glenn D. Blank) Though the first word is often translated “Blessed,” our preference for “Happy” derives from the core meaning of this Hebrew word, hrat, ashray. “Blessed” sounds more religious than need be. Everyone wants to be happy—the religious and non-religious alike—yet not everyone abides religious language, or even believes in a personal God who is game to help people be happy. Ashray is not exactly a giddy or jolly feeling, but a calm contentment. The “delight” that one feels from meditating on the Torah (2) is a satisfying shalom, secure in one’s relationship with HaShem. Israel’s ancient and inspired songbook attests to a gracious God, predisposed to shine His favor upon those who live valuecentered and virtuous lives, who follow the counsel of the wise rather than “the advice of the wicked” (1). Because God knows their ways (6), the righteous will be rewarded accordingly (3). Is that good news for you? Are you looking a 1:3. cf. Ps. 92:13-15(12-14); Jer. 17:8. b 1:5a. i.e., when they are put on trial or prosecuted.

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Tree of Life: The Psalms beyond the present for better things in olam haba, the world to come? Godly wisdom (for this is the first of many wisdom poems in the psalter) knows about a happiness that comes with trusting faithfulness, drawing life from the Spirit of God and “producing its fruit during its season” (3)—which looks and tastes like His Spirit, with the sap of patience, kindness, and faithful love. On the other hand, manipulative and perverse scoffers are promised no such abiding happiness, their futures blown away in the wind (4-5). In the Hebrew Bible, a kindly-disposed and just God dispenses His grace in accordance with how we “walk” or live our lives, step by step. (1). If you share in the righteousness of Messiah, you can take heart, even in difficult times. For a righteous person is “like a tree planted over streams of water,” so firmly rooted that “its leaf never droops” even in a time of drought (see Jer. 17:8). That’s something better and more enduring than whatever is trendy or “hot” today. That’s good news from the Hebrew Bible that is God’s news for all.

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Psalm 2

Psalm 2 Coronation of the Messianic King 1

Why are the nations in an uproar,

2

The kings of the earth set themselves upa

and the peoples mutter vanity? and rulers conspire together b against Adonai and against His Anointed Onec: 3

“Let’s rip their chains apart,d and throw their ropes off us!”

4

He who sits in heaven laughs! Adonai mocks them.

5

So He will speak to them in His anger, and terrify them in His fury:

6

“I have set up My king upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7

I will declare the decree of Adonai. He said to me: “You are My Son— today I have become Your Father.e

8

Ask Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance, and the far reaches of the earth as Your possession.

9

You shall break the nations with an iron scepter. You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s jar.”f

10

So now, O kings, be wise,

11

Serve Adonai with fear,

12

Kiss the Song, lest He become angry,

take warning, O judges of the earth! and rejoice with trembling. a b c d e f g

2.2a. Hebraic sense here is “usurping power.” 2:2b. cf. Mark 3:6. 2.2c. Or Messiah; Acts 4:25-26. 2:2a. The Hebrew verb suggests an act that involves violence. 2:4. cf. Matt :17; Luke 3:22; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5. 2:9. cf. Jer 19:11; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15 2:12. Some ancient mss. have do homage to.

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Tree of Life: The Psalms and you perish along your way— since His wrath may flare up suddenly.a Happy is everyone who takes refuge in Him!

( Psalm 2 (Glenn D Blank) In America, after all the campaigns and elections are over, the succession from one President to another is peaceful and orderly. For that and more, we must thank God for George Washington. But it was not so for ancient kings. We only need look at the plotting and scheming among David’s sons and their supporters (1 Kings 1:5-53). It could have ended up in bitter and bloody war had not the prophet Nathan and wise old king David intervened to arrange the coronation of the young Solomon. After Solomon though, things went worse, with Rehoboam and Jeroboam splitting the kingdom of Israel in two (1 Kings 12). If much was at stake then, how much more so when we consider the crowning of David’s greater Son, the Anointed One (jhan, Mashiach)? Much was at stake then for everyone in the kingdom, and much is at stake for us as we look for Messiah to establish His kingdom on earth. The power-brokers of this world are in a raucous tumult (1), rallying supporters and conspiring for one of their own choosing against the choice of the royal Father (2), and complaining about conditions left by the past regime (3). Suddenly the scene soars to heaven, where HaShem scoffs at the rabble-rousers (4), and makes it clear that He alone will determine the new king (6). Then He turns his attention to address His chosen One, the Son (7). In ancient times, it was common to think of a king as a son of the gods. But something more is happening here: as the Father proclaimed at His immersion, Yeshua is His one and only beloved Son. If David could promise the surrounding nations as an inheritance to Solomon, God alone can promise all nations as the inheritance of Mashiach. A time is coming when the power-brokers of this world will finally “be wise” (10), serve with fear and trembling (11), and kiss the royal Son in humble homage (12). Whose side are you on? If you have not put your trust in the royal Son, fear the wrath of His coming judgment! But if you have, rejoice, for His kingdom and His grace will endure forever!

a

2:12. cf. 2Th 1:7-8; Rev. 6:17.

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Psalm 3

Psalm 3 Magen David 1

A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom. a

2

Adonai, how many are my foes! Many are rising up against me!

3

Many are saying to my soul: “There is no deliverance for him in God.” Selah

4

But You, Adonai, are a shield around me, my glory and the lifter of my head.

5

I cry out to Adonai with my voice, and He answers me from His holy mountain. Selah

6

I lie down and sleep.

7

I will not be afraid

I awake—for Adonai sustains me. of ten thousands of people all around who have taken their stand against me. 8

Arise, Adonai! Deliver me, my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek. You shatter the teeth of the wicked.

9

Deliverance belongs to Adonai.b Let Your blessing be on Your people. Selah

( Psalm 3 (Glenn D. Blank) Have you ever been in a tight spot? Have you ever felt like someone was giving you a tough time, way beyond anything you deserve? You cry out to God for help, and you wonder if He hears you? David was in such a situation, when he was fleeing from the rebellion of Absalom his son (1)—not to mention when he was fleeing from Saul earlier in his life. Yet David doesn’t focus on Absalom or Saul or any other human adversary in his cry to God. His foes rising up against him loom larger than the particular humans who were chasing him. These foes were challenging God Himself. If “there is no deliverance for him in God” (3), to whom can he turn? David seemed to understand, as he saw “ten thousands…who have taken their stand against me” (7), that “our struggle is a 3:1. cf. 2Sam. 15:12-17. b 3:9. cf. Rev. 7:10.

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Tree of Life: The Psalms not against flesh and blood, but…against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). In such a struggle, you can only cry out to HaShem and take your stand in Him, taking up the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16). Then you will know that He alone is “is a shield (idn, magen) around me, my glory and the lifter of my head” (4). He alone is your security, when you lie down and when you rise up. He alone is your deliverance or salvation (3, 9)—vguah, yeshuah. (This word—which became the Name of Salvation in person—appears over 60 times in Psalms alone.) Remember that your tight spot is a temporary trial, but your vguah is from the holy mountain and your glory is from the Eternal One.

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Psalm 4

Psalm 4 Prayer for Sleep in Shalom 1

For the music director, on stringed instruments, a psalm of David.

2

Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness! You who set me free when I am in distress, be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

3

O sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into my shame? How long will you love worthlessness and pursue falsehood? Selah

4

But know that Adonai has set apart the godly for His own. Adonai will hear when I call to Him.

5

Tremble, but do not sin!a Search your own heart while on your bed, and be silent. Selah

6

Offer righteous sacrifices and put your trust in Adonai.

7

Many are asking, “Who will show us some good?” May the light of Your face shine upon us, Adonai!b

8

You have put joy in my heart— more joy than when their grain and new wine overflow.

9

I will lie down and sleep in shalom. For You alone, Adonai, make me live securely.

( Psalm 4 (Jeffrey Seif) “Answer me when I call” (2) has been a heart cry of countless women and men since the dawn of creation, and also, “be gracious to me (hbbj , chanayni) and hear (gna, sh’ma) my prayer.” In so many ways, it’s what we all want from God, is it not? Yet He responds with His own question (3): “How long will you love worthlessness and pursue falsehood?” Alas, it’s all too easy to love empty things. People who pursue futility and practice deceit suffer tragic ends, a 4:5. cf. Ps. 119:11; Eph. 4:26. b 4:7. Num. 6:26; Ps. 80:4,8,20(3,7,19).

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Tree of Life: The Psalms do they not? But “prayer changes things,” as the saying goes, so every human being, though guilty, is but a single prayer away from a changed life—from experiencing God’s graciousness. This psalm assures us that God is particularly predisposed to reach down and help those who reach up and pursue Him. So we read in verse 4: “Adonai has set apart the godly for His own; Adonai will hear when I call to Him.” What a promise! If you are feeling alone, consider that God may want you for Himself. Those troubled by sin and circumstance can happily get the better of both. Getting right with God and offering “right sacrifices” to the Lord (6) holds out the promise that God will put “joy” in our “hearts” (8). It is all there for the asking. So, if you are willing, ask—and you shall receive.

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Psalm 5

Psalm 5 Morning Prayer for Justice 1

For the music director, on the wind instruments, a psalm of David.

2

Hear my words, Adonai, consider my groaning.

3

Listen to the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to you.

4

In the morning, Adonai, You will hear my voice. In the morning I place my prayer before You, and continue to watch expectantly.

5

For You are not a God who rejoices in evil. No wickedness dwells with you.

6

Braggarts will not stand before your eyes. You hate all wrongdoers.

7

You destroy those who speak falsehood. Adonai detests a person of bloodshed and deceit. a

8

But because of your great lovingkindness, I will enter Your house. I will bow down toward Your holy Temple, in awe of You.

9

Lead me, Adonai, in Your righteousness, because of my enemies. Make Your path straight before me.

10

For nothing upright is in their mouth. Inside them is a ruin—their throat an open grave.b They flatter with their tongue.

11

Declare them guilty, O God! Let them fall through their own schemes. Banish them for their many transgressions— for they have rebelled against You.

12

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice! Let them always shout for joy! You will shelter them and they will exult— those who love Your name.

13

For You bless the righteous, Adonai. You surround him with favor as a shield.

a 5:7. cf. Rev. 21:8. b 5:10. cf. Rom 3:13.

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Tree of Life: The Psalms

( Psalm 5 (Glenn D. Blank) From this psalm we can learn several important lessons about personal prayer. First, it’s helpful to pray aloud. Note how the speech of earnest prayer builds up in verses 2-4—“my words,” “my groaning,” “the sound of my cry,” “my voice,” “my prayer.” With spoken prayer comes confidence that HaShem will hear. (See if you can find all the words the psalmist uses for hearing in these verses.) You may think, doesn’t HaShem already know the thoughts of my heart? Indeed He does, before you utter a word (Matt. 6:8). Nevertheless, a prayer spoken aloud with passion and perseverance gets His special attention (Luke 18:13). Second, there is value in prayer in the morning—as David repeats (4), and so did the righteous Job (1:5), the prophet Isaiah (26:9) and the Messiah Yeshua (Mark 1:35). Are you willing to set your prayer before the Lord each morning, watching and trusting HaShem to hear your cry? Third, a prayer of faith exalts the goodness of God above wickedness and evil (5). Have you ever struggled with others who were deceitfully scheming against you? If so, you’re in good company. David experienced great opposition—as did his descendant Yeshua—from boasters and workers of iniquity who speak falsehood (6-7). Yet his enemies are not his focus. God is. Instead of fretting, David enters the house of God, trusting in His lovingkindness and righteousness (8-9). He is not intimidated, but confident that God will deal with his enemies justly (10-11) and provide a place of shelter for all who trust in His name (12-13). Do you want to have this assurance? Then pray out of your heart each morning, with conviction. Then watch God our Father lead you out of trial and deliver you from evil.

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Psalm 6

Psalm 6 Prayer for Mercy 1

For the music director, on the eight-string lyre, a psalm of David.

2

Adonai, do not rebuke me in Your anger! Do not discipline me in Your wrath.

3

Be gracious to me, Adonai, for I am weak. Heal me, Adonai— for my bones are shuddering with fear, 4

as is my soul— and You, ADONAI—how long?

5

Turn toward me, Adonai, deliver my soul!

6

For there is no memory of you in death,

7

I am worn out with my groaning.

Save me—because of Your mercy. in Sheol who will praise You? Every night I make my bed swim, drenching my pillow with my tears. 8

My eyes are weakened with grief— they age because of my enemies.

9

Away from me, all you evildoers! For Adonai heard the sound of my weeping.

10

Adonai has heard my cry for mercy. Adonai accepts my prayer: 11

“May all my enemies be ashamed, and stricken with terror. May they turn back in sudden disgrace.”a

( Psalm 6 (Jeffrey Seif) People are what they are, and life is what it is. It is not going to change, and not everyone around you is going to change. Imperfect as it all is and as imperfect as we all are, we are sometimes confronted by our imperfections and forced to cry out with the psalmist (2), “Adonai, do not rebuke me in Your anger! Do not discipline me in Your wrath!” Instead, “be gracious to me (hbbj , chanayni), Adonai.” a

6:10. cf. Ex. 23:27; Ps. 71:13.

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Tree of Life: The Psalms This last expression says it all in so many ways. “Heal me” (3) is another appeal for mercy—especially when “my bones are shuddering with fear.” How much we need His grace and mercy—both to get it and to give it. Incessant aggravations can and do cause us to feel “worn out” (7), and as a result our eyes (and our perspective) are “weakened” (8). Finally the psalmist acknowledges (9), “Adonai heard the sound of my weeping.” Let me ask a pointed question. In your heart of hearts, do you really believe that He does hear? Do you trust that He is full of mercy? Does God hear your heart cry? The psalmist assures you that He does— “Adonai has heard” and He “accepts my prayer” (10). Do you trust the gracious One to hear and accept you? Irrespective of past sins and circumstances, Scripture holds out the promise that Adonai is near to all who call upon Him (Ps. 145:18). If you pick up the phone and call, you will be included in the “all.” Those uncertain how to dial up God’s number would do well to consider what one of Yeshua’s disciples committed to writing many years ago: “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Go His way. See His Truth. Find His Life. People may not change—those “evil-doers” (9) who seem to be your enemies may never “be ashamed” (11), on this side of Judgment Day—but you can. In the process of so doing, you will discover that the change that comes through trusting Him makes all the difference.

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Psalm 7

Psalm 7 Adonai Magen 1

A passionate songa of David, which he sang to Adonai concerning Cush, a Benjamite. 2

Adonai my God, in You I have taken refuge. Save me from each of my persecutors, and deliver me.

3

Otherwise he will rip me apart like a lion,

4

Adonai my God, if I have done this—

with no one to rescue me. if there is guilt on my hands, 5

If I have paid back evil to anyone at peace with me, or unjustly attacked my adversary,

6

then let the enemy chase me, overtake me, and trample me into the ground, leaving my honor in the dirt! Selah

7

Arise, Adonai, in Your anger, arise against the fury of my enemies! Awake for me!b You have decreed justice.

8

An assembly of peoples gathers around you.

9

Adonai judges the peoples.

You return on high, above them. Vindicate me, Adonai, for my righteousness and my integrity on me. 10

Please, end the evil of the wicked and sustain the righteous. For a just God examines hearts and minds.c

11

My shield is God— Savior of the upright in heart.

12

God is a righteous judge, a God who is indignant every day.

13

If He does not relent, He will sharpen His sword. He has bent His bow and made it ready.d

a b c d

7:1. Heb. Shiggaion, meaning obscure. 6:7. Instead of for me, LXX has my God. 7:10. cf. Jer. 11:20; Rev. 2:23. 7:13. cf. Deut. 32:4; Ps. 64:8(7).

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Tree of Life: The Psalms 14

He prepares His own deadly weapons.

15

Look! The one pregnant with trouble

He makes His fiery arrows. conceives mischief and brings forth deceit. a 16

He digs a pit, scrapes it out, and then falls into the hole he has made.b

17

His mischief will turn on his own head. His violence will boomerang on his crown.c

18

I will praise Adonai for His justice. I will sing praise to the name of Adonai Elyon!

( Psalm 7 (Glenn D. Blank) David was passionate about justice. Surely he was treated unjustly—adversaries were persecuting him (2), threatening to rip him apart (3), accusing him of evil (4)— when in fact it is they who do so to him! First Samuel 24 tells of Saul and his army chasing David in the wilderness. Yet when David had a chance to kill Saul and thus defend and avenge himself, he didn’t. Instead, he trusts HaShem to be his refuge and rescue him (2). Similarly Yeshua teaches us to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39) and Paul tells us to leave vengeance to HaShem (Rom. 12:19). David is passionate about trusting in God to do justice, swearing, if he had ever taken matters into his own hands, then let his own life and honor be trampled into the dirt (6)! Because of his faith, David is able to see HaShem arising to decree justice before the assembly of the peoples (7-8). Vindication will surely come from the heavenly judge (9). God’s justice is greatest, because He alone is able to examine hearts (10), He alone is perfectly righteous at all times (12), and He alone can bring ultimate vindication with His sword and fiery arrows (13-14). Yet the weapons of God are not carnal—God does not literally wield a sword and bow—but spiritual, though divinely powerful (2 Cor. 10:14). For that matter, justice is not a physical thing—you cannot actually see it, yet you know when things are right or not. “It’s not fair!” From the time we were little children, we all have a sense of fairness. Just as we have a sense of physical balance that helps us keep physically upright, we also have a sense of moral balance a 7:15. cf. Job 15:35; Isa. 59:4; Jacob 1:15. b 7:16. cf. Ps. 9:15; 57:7(6); Prov. 26:27; 28:10. c 7:17. cf. Esth. 9:25.

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Psalm 7

that helps us keep morally upright—sensing what is right or wrong, just or unjust. Because justice is fundamentally spiritual, David recognizes that only God can bring it about. David recognizes that, left to themselves, people usually just make things worse—conceiving mischief then giving birth to deceit (15), digging a hole and then falling into it (16). Only God can set things right again. Sometimes He does it by letting people experience the consequences of their actions falling upon their own heads. Sometimes He does it by authorizing human agents with the decree of His word—who are well equipped with fearsome weapons (Jer. 51:20; Rom. 13:4). Yet however He does it, let us be confident that God is our refuge (2) and our shield (11, idn, magen). Since He is our righteous judge (12), let us always sing praises to Him for His justice (18).

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About the Authors Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif Professor Jeffrey Seif teaches at a variety of Bible colleges and seminaries in the U.S. and Israel. In addition to his 24 years in higher education, Jeff pastors and presently leads Sar Shalom, a Messianic synagogue in Dallas, Texas. He is a sought after congregational speaker and conference speaker. Jeff is a graduate of the North Texas Regional Police Academy and has earned a master’s degree and doctorate from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. He has many books and articles to his credit. Among other things, Dr. Seif is the project manager and vice president of the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Project, which has produced the Tree of Life New Covenant and the Shared Heritage Bible. One can learn more about him at www.drjeffreyseif.com.

Dr. Glenn D. Blank Messianic Rabbi Glenn David Blank leads Beit Simcha (www.beitsimcha. org), a Messianic Jewish congregation in Allentown, Pennsylvania. His ordination as Messianic Rabbi is through IAMCS. He also serves as the conference chair and member of the Tikkun America Executive Team (TikkunAmerica. org) and as the Literary Editor of the Tree of Life Bible. He earned his doctorate in Cognitive Science and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He took an M.A. degree in English from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. degree in English from Pennsylvania State University. After 27 years, he retired as a Professor Emeritus from Lehigh University in 2011 in order to pursue full time ministry. Glenn has two children and currently helps his wife with day care for his granddaughter. His testimony is viewable on YouTube or beitsimcha.org.

Paul Wilbur Paul Wilbur was on his way to the opera houses and synagogues of the world when he met a young singer at Indiana University graduate school of music who would alter his life plans forever. Paul was determined to follow the footsteps of Metropolitan Opera star Richard Tucker until he fell in love with Israel’s Messiah back in March of 1977 on a fishing trip with his friend, Jerry Williams. From the very first day, Paul knew his destiny was to sing, but the subject matter was to undergo a radical transformation. So, for more than 35 years, Paul has traversed the globe with guitar in hand, singing and declaring the praises of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah who set him free so many years ago. He has recorded too many projects to list here, performs them in multiple languages in nearly 100 nations, has served for years on Messianic and church

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staffs, is a published writer, records with Integrity Music, is married to the love of his life for more than 33 years, and has two sons and two daughters-in-law and a grandson who all serve in the ministry together. Paul and his entire tribe live in Jacksonville, Florida and can be reached through www.wilburministries.com.

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TLV Psalms With Commentary: Hope And Healing In The Hebrew Scriptures